Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday morning to discuss the Red Sox' possibilities for their next manager, where Theo Epstein will be next season, and his take on Terry Francona's departure.
"I think it was very difficult on Terry," Gammons said of Boston's late-season struggles. "Did it get out of control to some degree? Yeah I guess so. I think he has been portrayed too much as this guy who was cowering in a corner. ... He had been really beaten up. We've talked about it here, we've kidded about it, the tenures of managers in Boston should be judged in dog years. So at the end of 56 years of managing the Red Sox, he needed to move on."
Francona decided to walk away on Friday after much speculation that he would be pushed out by the front office after the September collapse. Gammons said that he believes Francona knew he was out no matter what he did.
"I had a strong implication that ownership was not going to pick up the option no matter what," Gammons said. "Now, when Theo on Thursday talked to Terry and said, 'OK, we want to go in and make your case on how we move forward.' At that point, I think Terry was convinced no matter what he did or said, they weren't going to pick up the option. And I don't think Terry Francona's the type of person who is going to go in and beg for anything, and he shouldn't have to, not with his history."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On if Epstein will move to the Cubs or stick with Boston: "I can understand the excitement of being the first guy to bring a world championship to both the Red Sox and the Cubs. It's an exciting proposition. ... I think they say [to the Cubs], 'Go ahead and talk to him.' And then we'll see how it works out. Knowing how rational John Henry is, I think that's a distinct possibility. It's, OK, you can talk to him, but can they offer him more, can they offer him something better than whatever they structured here? One thing that's happened here, that I'm told by a number of people, one thing that's evolved in the last couple of months is that the relationship between Theo and Larry Lucchino has gotten much better. That leads me to believe that it can get worked out better."
On potential compensation the Red Sox might seek from the Cubs if Epstein leaves, including whether the Cubs could be asked to take John Lackey: "No [on Lackey]. I think that unless they're going to do a John Lackey-Carlos Zambrano deal, but I don't think that would happen. I think they would probably go, end up giving up a couple of really good prospects, especially if they're pitchers, because that's something that the Red Sox could really use right now. I think that's the most likely scenario. It's been said many times that [the Red Sox in 2002] actually had agreed to trade Kevin Youkilis for Billy Beane, but that's actually not true. I was going back over this the other day. It was really weird, because Billy was actually negotiating with Paul DePodesta, who was going to take over Billy's job in Oakland. So Billy was acting as the Red Sox general manager and DePodesta was acting as the A's general manager, even though neither one of them was already in his position. And, in the end, he explained, Billy said to Paul, 'Look, there are only three players here at that time in the organization -- Kevin Youkilis, Hanley Ramirez and Kelly Shoppach. I can't give you one of the three real assets in the organization. And if you hold out for it long enough, then you're not going to get the general manager's job. So we have to work it out so we all get what we want.' As it worked out, Billy made the decision to stay closer to his family. He believes it was a life-changing decision not to come to Boston."
On the Red Sox' managerial search: "I was told that their list is pretty close to 40 at some point. You look at it and you say, 'Well, that's the only way to go about it.' You're going through every single name for a week. They don't need to have a manager for a month. ... There aren't guys out there that you're going to say, 'OK, this guy is perfect.' Because you are not going to get those guys.
"Eric Wedge isn't leaving Seattle because he has so much power there and he moved his family there. I think he'd be terrific [in Boston] ... but I don't see that happening, I don't think Seattle would let him go. I think [Don] Mattingly would be a great person here. Someone suggest if they pay Frank McCourt's October MasterCard bill then maybe he'd give him up, but I don't think the Dodgers can let Mattingly go, especially after he stabilized the entire franchise midseason. I see names that make a lot of sense, but the question is, could they come in and deal with this high-priced, high-profile, high-ego team. To me, you need a guy who is really good with pitching and really good with presence.
"When you move forward, to the next manager, you have to think about this: One of the things that happens in baseball is that they don't pay or empower coaches enough. I don't think it should be the manager's job to clean out everything. I look at Arizona and what Kirk Gibson's done, and nobody's going to mess with Kirk Gibson, but on the other hand, you've got Don Baylor and Alan Trammell and Charles Nagy, he's got unbelievable coaches. And they're all paid."
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Jeff Goodman calls Mike and Rob to drop a ton of knowledge on the upcoming NBA Draft and some of the names available. Sorry fans - he doesn't see Kevin Durant or any big-named free agents coming to Boston and thinks they'll end up making the third pick this season. He also says that there is NO WAY he would trade next year's Brooklyn pick because the draft will be very deep. He discusses the chances of trading with Philly for Okafor, why he like Kris Dunn so much and much more.
Brad Stevens makes his first appearance on the Dale and Holley with Thornton show. We discuss the Atlanta series and what went wrong, and where the Celtics go from here.
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Christian recaps the Red Sox 5-2 victory over Cleveland.
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox DH, who almost hit for the cycle in the win over the Indians at Fenway.
Torey joins Mike and Rob to discuss the last week for the Red Sox, Joe Kelly's awesome performance last night, if Clay Buchholz can figure things out, David Ortiz and more.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Jim Polito of WTAG in Worcester joins us for a few minutes to talk about the district attorney and how the show should stick to sports.
Turtleboy from Turtleboy Sports joins the guys to talk about the cop killer.
The list of top 20 celebrities people masterbate to, Cosby is in trouble again, and Dupont wrote another column.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN calls in to discuss who she thinks the Celtics are going to draft with the #3 pick, and also gives her opinion on what trades the Celtics could pull off this off-season.
There are so many good, young players on the Red Sox that it's hard to pick out the top 3. Glenn, Lou and Christian debate which of the young guys on the Sox are the most valuable and which ones could possibly be traded for a starting pitcher.
Kevin Love sat out for the entire 4th quarter for the second straight game against the Raptors, and Glenn, Lou and Christian can't believe the excuse Tyronn Lue gave to the media.
Stephen A Smith thinks so, but what does his own fan-base think?
We discuss the infamous nut kick and why NBA players have been so whiny this post-season.
We discuss what it means for the B's
This week we talk about top golfers dropping out of the Olympic games.
In the latest It Is What It Is podcast, Chris Price talks with Comcast’s Phil Perry about the latest Deflategate news, what’s next for Tom Brady and what chance he might have when it comes to playing in the opener. The two also take a look at some guys on the roster bubble and which rookies have the best chance of having an impact in 2016 and beyond.
Former New England Football Pro Christian Fauria and one of Boston's premier sports medicine doctors and orthopedic surgeons to the pro's, Dr. Thomas Gill of Steward Health Care, discuss some of the recent injuries that have plagued the Boston Red Sox and how you can avoid similar injuries in your everyday life.
Kirk rants about Gerry being Corporate Callahan and commands Paul to shut Gerry's mic off.More from this show
Brady lawyer, Ted Olson, speaks about the latest Deflategate news on GMA and Gerry reads Larry King's latest Kings Things.More from this show